Choir delighted audience at Derbyshire fetival

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A new community choir in Bakewell has given its first public performance – only four months after it was founded.

The Bakewell and District Community Choir performed a 45-minute concert at the Eroica Festival on Bakewell Showground on Saturday (June 18), delighting a large audience of festival-goers.

The choir was formed from the “Singing for Health and Well-being” Adult Education classes, previously held by Derbyshire County Council. Members asked their tutor, Wirksworth’s Lester Simpson – a member of the renowned a capella folk trio Coope Boyes and Simpson – to lead a new community choir, and it first met up in February.

Lester said: “The progress the choir has made in such a short time is absolutely fantastic. We started it with no auditions and no pressure on anyone. In the end, we are just a group of people who love singing together. But the sound the choir is making so soon after starting up is just wonderful.”

The 80-strong choirs’ programme on Saturday included Song of Peace, from Jean Sibelius’s Finlandia; Nina Simone’s hit, I wish I knew how it would feel be to be free, and Richard Thompson’s Keep your distance.

The choir’s already extensive repertoire includes everything from Sibelius to the Mamas and the Papas, and from Cherokee and African tribal songs to others by Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter and Peggy Seeger.

People from all walks of life and a variety of age groups make up the choir. It meets every Wednesday at 7.30pm at Bakewell Town Hall. Lester added: “New members are always welcome, especially tenors and basses. All choirs seem to be short of these.”